Freight Squeeze Pushing Wood Prices Higher in the Northeast

Mill inventory levels are a perennial challenge in the US Northeast/Eastern Canada subregions. In fact, the seasonality of wood supply is the most significant factor mills must take into consideration when planning for a consistent supply. While the specific inventory plan at each mill depends on a variety of other factors as well, the wood production system must generate a sufficient volume of supply while considering the timing of the volume coming to market.

With the exception of a dramatic spike that developed in April 2018, wood fiber prices remained pretty flat in Eastern North America over the last several years, which is somewhat surprising given the convergence of events that have developed in response to the pandemic that began two years ago. While the economy demonstrated steady growth in 2021 — and it really had nowhere to go but up — delivered wood fiber prices in the region skyrocketed to their highest level since 2015.